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October 7, 2013

If you’ve ever taken a couple weeks off from exercising, you know how difficult it can be to get back into shape or back onto a treadmill once again.  Making exercise a part of a daily routine can make getting daily exercise much easier.  For an older or frail person, just getting up and down out of a chair unassisted uses muscles that need to be exercised on a regular basis.  The old adage, “Use it or lose it,”  is unfortunately very true for those over 50 years of age.

With the help and consultation of a physician, even frail seniors should be able to work in a daily exercise routine that can help them increase strength and endurance and improve their overall quality of life.  Some tips for integrating a fitness routine into daily activities include:

  • Focus first on individual goals, concerns, and any barriers that may prevent the exercise.

  • Exercise in short, 10-minute bouts, if you’re just starting.  The key is to ease into a set regimen to avoid muscle strains or other injuries.  Then slowly (over the space of 1-2 months), gradually increase the walking times or the amount of push-ups, leg lifts (scissors) or sit-ups or any other exercises that make up your exercise regimen.

  • Set a schedule.  The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise, making it just as much a regular part of a daily schedule as everything else.

  • Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict movement.  For older individuals getting back into exercising, working out every-other-day is often a healthy, injury-free way of re-starting an exercise regimen.

  • Wear leg warmers or over-the-knee socks that can help prevent sore muscles in the lower leg.

  • If a movement causes pain, stop! The old adage “no pain, no gain” is never true for older adults.

  • Finally, opinions and research vary regarding stretching before or after exercising. Most experts agree that a very gradual “warm-up” routine of 2-5 minutes, followed by a more vigorous period of exercising avoids injuries and strains. Following this, a regimen of stretching exercises lasting about 15 or 20 minutes where all the major muscle groups are slowly stretched and held for a count of 30, is a healthy way to maintain flexibility as we age to help prevent falls and other injuries.

At AAging Better In-Home Care, we help seniors and older loved ones get the daily exercise they need in a safe environment.  Contact us to learn more about our home care services today.  If calling from the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden Lake areas, we can be contacted at 208-777-0308; or if calling from the Sandpoint, Priest River, Bonners Ferry areas, call 208-263-7889; and if calling from Kellogg, Pinehurst, or Wallace areas, contact us at 208-784-1505.  If calling from outside of north Idaho for yourself or a loved one, please call our toll free number at 1-877-464-2344. 

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